For the 3rd season in a row, the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Championship was at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden. As racers, we are always really excited to finish the season with the best event in our calendar.
There are many reasons why this event is so special to us. First, the course is always quite challenging and takes the racers all around the resort. Second, it always seems to be in great snow condition and on a clear nice day. Third of all, this is a really spectator friendly event so there is a lot of cheering happening and also the event is very well organized. Put all those elements together and you can’t really go wrong in creating a successful event. Oh and I almost forgot, the prizes for all categories are all really sweet and the “Gala” at the eagle eye restaurant after the race is simple amazing.
New this Season at KHMR,
T2 Ridge, our second last climb and Descent
A few things were a bit different this year with a full weekend of action. On Saturday march 26th was the individual race where athlete could pick between 2 categories, the Enduro (4000 ft of climbing) or the Elite (close to 6000ft of climbing). At noon, and as per the traditions, we ran around the Eagle eye restaurant, skis in hand and transitioned to descent mode at the start line. From there, a quick skate and descent brought us to the bottom of our first climb under the “Staiway to Heaven Chair”. We then climbed up to the ridge and dropped in Feuz Bowl for the 2nd climb. The snow was reallynice and powdery with 9 cm of fresh overnight! A quick descent brought us to a longer climb up Crystal Bowl, which included a bootpack with a fix rope. That climb brought us back to the eagle eye restaurant and the start/ finish area but the race was just getting interesting from there!!! We then dropped down into Bowl Over for a nice walk up a nice lower angle track with steep switchback near the headwall. Halfway in, there was another bootback which took the racers all the way to the top of Terminator Ridge. From there, we skied a new section of terrain for KHMR this season to the moraine and then climbed back up steep switchbacks and up onto the T2 ridge. From there, we skied back down and around to the same point where we skied before in Bowl Over and climbed the same headwall to sprint along the ridge and gain the finish line. 4 Bootpacks, exciting ridge walks, technical switchbacks, this is what I call a “Euro Like Race”!
One of the 4 Bootpack of the Course
I think it’s fair to say that everyone had a great time and people were giving it all on the course all the way to the end. There was bindings broken, people falling, skins ripping, water bottle falling… all sorts of things happening on course. Freshly back from Europe, Reiner Thoni had a great race from the start and crossed the finish line first. Andrew McNab was not far behind with a great second place. Ian Gale was the 3rd male to cross the finish line. As for the ladies go, I came in just after Andrew, Julie was 2nd women to cross the finish with Billie in 3rd place.
Congratulations to all the racers and specially our new juniors in the circuit, Dominic Unterberger and Kirill Dubrovsky for a 1st and 2nd place. On the Sunday, march 27th was the relay race which was a Euro like team event. Teams of 2 and 4 toured around a set course of 400ft of vertical gain and lost. Each team had to go around the course 4 times. This was an other spectator friendly event with all the action taking place on Stairway to Heaven side of CPR Ridge. We all had a great time racing this really friendly event. Thx to KHMR, Ian Gale and the volunteers!
Next and last stop of the season will be at Lake Louise this weekend with a new event to our calendar. It should be a lot of fun!!!
Podium Picture from: